Prime Minister John Key gave a very strong message at Ratana yesterday:
“I say to the critics what can you achieve from opposition, and the answer is nothing. You achieve things when you are part of the solution not when you are solely carping on about the problems,”
It was directed at Maori Party MP Hone Harawira but could also apply to the Ratana church which traditionally supports Labour.
The links between the Ratana movement and Labour go back a long way. But that isn’t necessarily the best way to operate now, especially under MMP when smaller parties can have greater influence.
Governments work with all sorts of groups irrespective of their political allegiance. But non-political groups which support one party risk being taken for granted by that party and are less likely to achieve much when that party isn’t in power.
It’s a well worn political phrase that a bad day in Government beats the best in Opposition. That’s where the power lies and where the ability to make positive changes.
It’s better for minor parties to achieve some of their aims in Government even if they don’t support all its policies than to achieve nothing in Opposition.
It’s better for groups other than political parties to keep their options open and work with those in power to advance their cause.